One White Woman’s Tiny Plan of Action – Write Now Columbus – June 2020

Check out this post by Nita Sweeney the author of Depression Hates a Moving Target

I’m a white, middle-aged, middle-class woman who lives in an affluent central Ohio suburb. While I was in high school, growing up in rural Ohio, the first family of “colored people” moved into our district.

They were Italian.

Sigh.

Despite my lifelong desire to reform racism out of myself, that lack of people of color during my formative years skewed my perspective. What I don’t know and haven’t experienced could make me dangerous to the black friends I love. I’m committed to facing my white privilege and racism. Until I own it, I can’t do anything about it.

I’m ashamed to admit it took a Facebook friend calling out we “white folks” on our silence after George Floyd’s murder for me to finally, decades too late, take more specific action. I am listening to my black friends, watching black leaders, and allowing their actions to guide my steps.

This week, an article in The Columbus Dispatch explained how business owners were signing a “Letter To Columbus City Council in Support of Resolution Declaring Racism a Public Health Crisis.” As the publisher of Write Now Columbus, I added my voice. It felt ridiculously small in the face of so many deaths, but I had to begin somewhere. Maybe it would help turn the tide.

As a runner, today I would normally celebrate Global Running Day. Instead, I consciously “exercised” my white privilege by running three miles without being killed. Sound harsh? A few weeks ago, 25 year-old Ahmaud Arbery, a black man, was chased, gunned down, and killed by several white men while he was running. Today, I ran for him, used the hashtag #irunwithmaud to bring awareness, and donated to the fund set up for his mother.

I also donated to The Bail Project. Many black and impoverished people sit in jail awaiting trial because they cannot post bail. Meanwhile the white and affluent accused go home and to their jobs.

And I thought about my writing life. While some of the individuals in Depression Hates a Moving Targetare people of color, I did not point out anyone’s race. It didn’t seem to serve the story and might have been seen as gratuitous. I worry I missed an opportunity or responsibility.

I added black-owned bookstores to my lists and pledge to read more black history and books by black authors.

When my coauthor Brenda Knight and I chose author quotes to use in our new writing journal, You Should Be Writing, we carefully gathered from authors of all races. I’m especially proud of the final chapter about the role and responsibility of the writer. Words have power. May we use them wisely.

As others protest—I choose not to because of Ed’s compromised immune system—I continue to take good notes. I record my thoughts, feelings, and sensations, all things I may forget when later I want to reflect on this time.

I will add to my tiny plan as opportunities arise.

What’s your plan?

Notice I didn’t ask if you had one. We’re way beyond that.

It’s not my job to tell you want to do. But please, figure it out.


You Should Be Writing by Brenda Knight and Nita Sweeney

you should be writing

A Journal of Inspiration & Instruction to Keep Your Pen Moving

Writing Inspiration from Incredible Authors. Gathered by Brenda Knight and writing coach Nita Sweeney, author of Depression Hates a Moving TargetYou Should Be Writing provides you with writing wisdom from a variety of accomplished authors.

Writing Practice on Every Page. This journal is a must-have for writers everywhere. With quotes from a diverse group of historical and modern authors to use as creative prompts on every page, you’ll be able to bring your writing inspiration with you wherever you go. You’ll find plenty of great advice, such as Toni Morrison’s encouragement, “As a writer, a failure is just information. It’s something that I’ve done wrong in writing, or is inaccurate or unclear. I recognize failure—which is important; some people don’t—and fix it.”


Depression Hates a Moving Target by Nita Sweeney

Depression Hates a Moving Target

How Running With My Dog Brought Me Back From the Brink (Running Depression and Anxiety Therapy, Bipolar)

It’s never too late to chase your dreams. Before she discovered running, Nita Sweeney was 49-years-old, chronically depressed, occasionally manic, and unable to jog for more than 60 seconds at a time. Using exercise, Nita discovered an inner strength she didn’t know she possessed, and with the help of her canine companion, she found herself on the way to completing her first marathon. In her memoir, Sweeney shares how she overcame emotional and physical challenges to finish the race and come back from the brink.